Melissa Furness

There is a fascinating paradox that occurs when confronted with ruins. Our thinking must split into two paths–one that leads us backward in time and another that travels forward, but these paths must be wandered upon simultaneously. The result may then be the creation of a complex alternative present.


We travel, perhaps great distances, to view the fragmented structures of past wonders, searching out a sense of our own identity in relation to time, recalling some Romantic notion of picturesque decline, in some attempt to reconnect ourselves with the earth. At the same time, we must reinvent these fragments that stand physically before us, searching out an imagined past which leads us into an invented future. Ruins erode and rot away while nature grows up to envelop human-made structures, pointing us toward a distorted world in which even what is now new will outlive us in some form of tangled decay for other generations to excavate.


It is the reinterpretations of the artifact and that which seeks to swallow it up which my current work explores. These fragments are leftovers of a more public history, which we then make personal through our own contemporary experience. The work is layered in many senses–physically and conceptually–forming a narrative of struggle, a continual weeding out, eating up, and regrowth of the self. The ruin is a site from which life has departed, but the sense of its former occupation remains along with new growth which threatens to swallow it up. There is a fullness that can be felt as we find ourselves in a constantly transforming continuum that is experienced in the present.


My work explores the life of the art object and the environments that they inhabit, building a visual dialog that extends from the internal to the external by testing the limits of narrative that exists not only within the work, but extending beyond it through process and intervention. Artifacts are created and eroded as weather, time and human interaction raise questions regarding the nature of external forces upon the object in the formation of its present history.

Represented by:
K Contemporary Art, 1412 Wazee St. Denver, CO
Contact:, 303-590-9800